Sophomore and Varsity Football Teams Combine Locker Rooms

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Sophomore and Varsity Football Teams Combine Locker Rooms

Trenton Cintron and Katherine Gross, Sports editor and News Editor

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In early June, the DGN varsity football team heads off the field after another successful practice. They get to the locker room and something is different. The sophomore football team has been added to the shared space.

The integration shocked players at all levels.

The 96 players on the sophomore and varsity teams now share 110 lockers and 16 showers. The sophomores and junior varsity shares one half of the locker room while varsity uses the other half.

Coaches informed the varsity, junior varsity, and sophomore teams of the locker room combination after a summer camp practice near the end of July. Varsity junior Nathan Boris remembers the day that he found out the sophomore team would be sharing the locker room.Their coaches gave them no reason.

“We were all confused because we didn’t know what was happening. A lot of the upperclassmen were mad because the sophomores were in there. Last year, as sophomores, we had the other locker room by ourselves and it was kind of nice. It’s really cramped in there now. I’m not a fan,” Boris said.

Every coach initially denied to comment, but Guerrieri and Horeni later said that the decision was not anything out of the ordinary. Horeni did not offer a reason for the combination.

“The decision was made in early June for summer camp. I was told by Coach Guerrieri that this was something that had been done in the past. We had enough room in the facility to support both teams,” said Horeni in an email.

Sophomore Coach Guerrieri and ex-varsity coach John Wander both told the Omega that the locker rooms previously were combined in the three seasons between the fall of 2011 and spring 2014. The locker rooms had been separated again for the 2015-2016 season after Guerrieri and Wander determined that an increase in program enrollment suggested that three teams could no longer fit in one room.

Players reactions were mixed. Some said there are benefits to the improved communication between the teams, but the cramped space remains nonoptimal. Varsity member senior Griffen Liszka does not enjoy the addition of the sophomore’s presence in the locker room, because they take away time for him to spend with his own team.

“When we lose a game we want to be left alone, and having another team in there just doesn’t feel right,” Liszka said.

Sophomore player Sam Baker also expressed his concerns about the situation.

“It is pretty cramped. When I go down there, everyone’s usually there and I can barely move around and get all of my stuff. I think that they should just put us in the other locker room” Baker said.

Players offered other reasons why the locker rooms have been combined, such as the decline in team enrollment. The Daily Herald reports that the football program decreased in participation by 14.7 percent between 2008 and 2017.

Other schools in the Western Conference experienced a similar decline. Downers Grove South recorded a 30 percent decline, and Lyons Township High School recorded a 23.5 percent decrease. Liszka believes enrollment was a factor in the combination.

“Football is slowly dying because of safety reasons, so I feel like more kids are not coming out to play. It’s happening everywhere. The sport is under attack. It’s not fair, ” Liszka said.

The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published an article citing that in America, the enrollment in football decreased from 1.11 million in 2008 to 1.06 million in 2017. The absence of these players potentially averted approximately 6,700 to 14,000 football-related concussions.

Concussions are especially prevalent in football because of the frequent brain trauma, which causes degenerative brain disorders like CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Junior Varsity player, senior Matthew Brady, believes that safety plays a role in the decline in enrollment.

“A lot of stuff is coming out about the concussions, especially with all of the former NFL players having CTE, and I think that parents are more worried,” Brady said.

Players suggested that the talent of the program is a reason for less player participation. As of Sept. 22, the varsity football team has a record of 2-3. Last year, the team finished with a record of 5-4. For the 2016-2017 season, they were 4-5.

“We aren’t a bad team, obviously, we made playoffs last year. It’s just sometimes we don’t have a good season, and we only go 4-5, and we don’t make playoffs, and it cuts the season short. And I think people would be more confident in playing if they knew we would go far every single year,” Brady said.